Travel

16 Jul 2019, 18:53 PM

July 16, 2019

Summer street festivals are not only a feature of the capital, but take place in other parts of the country as well.

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In its 17 years of existence the Littoral Street Festival has hosted around 800 street performers and puppeteers from some 40 different countries, and among a variety of shows we will this year see also some of the earliest, Commedia dell’arte originating puppet characters such as Mascarredas, Harlequin and Colobina, Pulcinella and a Slovenian version of the character, Pavliha.

 

The festival will last till the end of August and will feature shows along the main promenade path of Koper/Capodistria every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Thursday shows take place at Hlavaty Park, Friday shows at Ukmar Square and Saturday shows on the corner of the Hlavaty Park and Semedela promenade. In case of rain, shows will move under the roof of Taverna.

For information on shows, please visit: https://www.mclu.info/puf

PUF started as a puppet street festival and later extended its programme into other fields of performative arts.

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In the last week of the festival from August 26 to 30 PUF will move to the villages in the outskirts of Koper/Capodistria in Slovenian Istria: Sokoliči, Hrvoji, Gračišče and Truški.

The grand finale of the festival will take place in Koper on August 30 with Etno HistEria concert, which will then move to Snežnik Castle as Floating Castle festival, which will only last for one day this year.

 

15 Jul 2019, 10:32 AM

STA, 15 July 2019 - British Airways is launching a new route to Ljubljana on Monday with its first plane from London Heathrow Airport due to touch down at Jože Pučnik Ljubljana Airport at 9pm.

The British air carrier had already operated scheduled flights to Ljubljana from Gatwick airport at the turn of the millennium, when Slovenian air carrier Adria Airways was flying to Heathrow.

Becoming the third carrier to fly between London and Slovenia's capital, British Airways will link the capitals twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, on a 220-seater Airbus 321.

For the time being, flights are planned only during the summer, but considering how well the flights are booked, the operator of Ljubljana airport hopes British Airways will extend the flights beyond summer.

The launch of the route tonight will be accompanied by a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring officials from airport operator Fraport Slovenija and British Airways, UK Ambassador to Slovenia Sophie Honey, Slovenian Ambassador to the UK Tadej Rupel and the head of the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce Barbara Uranjek.

Two other airlines fly between London and Ljubljana; Easyjet operates flights from Stansted ten times a week and from Gatwick four times a week, while Wizz Air offers four weekly flights from Luton.

A total of 239,727 passengers flew between Ljubljana and London last year.

All our stories on air travel and Slovenia are here

10 Jul 2019, 12:55 PM

The best site around for all that’s in air in the former Yugoslavia, Ex-Yu Aviation, reports that Wizz Air, the budget carrier, is set to raise capacity on its flights from London’s Luton Airport to Ljubljana this winter, with the new schedule starting on October 27.

The change will see the Hungarian airline shift from the current 180-seat Airbus A320 to a 230-seat A321. The Ljubljana service is set to run three times a week for the 2019/20 season, rising to four times in December.

All our stories on air travel are here

01 Jul 2019, 16:11 PM

I recently took a trip to Bela krajina, and as part of that stayed a few days at Big Berry resort, by the River Kolpa. It a was nice, relaxing experience, a way to get away from the demands of my day job and do nothing but eat, drink, read and sleep.

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But not everyone goes to Big Berry to leave work behind, as I found out when talking to one of the staff, Tjaša Perhavec, who told me about the many organisations who come to the site for team-building exercises, as follows…

How long have you been offering team-building, and what kind of organisations come here?

We’ve been doing it since the beginning, four years ago, but started more actively in the last year. Now that the product is really defined and the guests can truly enjoy all the benefits this amazing location can offer.

With regard to organisations, there’s a great variety, but some of the bigger names you might recognise are BMW, AMZS, Finance, Moje leče, Porsche Slovenija, Časnik Finance, HP,  the Slovenian Olympic Committee, and IEDC - Bled School of Management.

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And what do offer organisations like that?

The first and the biggest asset is definitely the entire resort, with its 25.000 m2 of fairytale land caught between two rivers, a spring and a picturesque field. This is a large area that offers enough space and variety for all sorts of outdoor activities on land and in the water. All major companies that have team-building exercises can find the perfect spot for whatever activity they want to do, no matter the size.

Other than that we provide seven luxurious houses that can serve as accommodation for smaller groups. These have everything one would need for a productive stay here – big comfortable beds, private bathrooms, a kitchen with all the utilities, a living room connected directly to the terrace and the outdoor space. Each house has its own private hot tub with an amazing direct view of the river. They offer privacy, relaxation and the possibility to reconnect with nature, oneself and the team.

Besides that, teams can also use the BBQ area located on the resort. It can be used for a barbecue, to have private meetings in nature, as a catering venue. The other covered option for the activities is the reception and connected terrace, where we also offer the technical equipment needed for meetings and lectures.

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How long can organisations spend at BB for team-building?

They can come for just half a day if that’s all the time they have, just to have a couple of productive and out-of-the-box meetings away from the crowds and a good, relaxing  time. However, the majority stay for a couple of days, to really soak in the nature, experience the local hospitality and connect with the team. But there is also a possibility of a longer stay of up to a month and even more for individuals and for teams – the idea of a so-called “workation” when remote work is strongly connected with a vacation. Just imagine waking up to birdsong with an all local fresh breakfast and working with your colleagues or our own team in a coworking space with the amazing view of the river and all the green scenery that surrounds us. And then just jump in the river for a quick break.

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What about the food and drink?

The local food is just amazing. The majority is eco-friendly and all of it as fresh as it gets. We directly only offer a breakfast basket, filled with local products that will help you start the day right. For everything else we recommend local partner restaurants and catering because they know what they are doing and they are amazing at it. Everything can be organised on the location as well, if the group prefers to stay in the resort, such as local food catering, finger food, a BBQ picnic, homemade goulash by our chef or even a traditional pig or lamb on a spit.

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Besides regular meals for the teams we also strongly suggest workshops - like one showing how to make the local flat bread, Belokrajinska pogača – or different wines and even local beer tastings. These can be done in the local cellars or on the resort.

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What about at the end of day, when the work is over?

Anyone who stays here can use the bicycles, canoes, beach volleyball court and a lounge area for relaxation. Through our many local partners we can also provide them with local catering, workshops, wine or beer tastings, yoga classes, massages, activities on the river and so on, the possibilities are endless.

Then there are many possibilities for after-work events on the terrace or anywhere on the resort. We can offer several band and DJ options – although guests can bring their own as well – that go well with our new mobile cocktail BB van. We can even organise an outdoor movie night for the team, or have any “daytime” activity done at night.

To be honest, it’s just that the sky and your imagination are the limits. We’ll do everything we can to make you feel comfortable and we’re sure you’ll love it.

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You can learn more about Big Berry, as a team-building or vacation destination, here.

29 Jun 2019, 20:32 PM

Trubarjeva cesta is not one of the more obvious tourist streets of Ljubljana. It’s not the Old Town and it’s not by the river. It doesn’t have great views of the Castle or many beautiful buildings. It’s where the smart townhouses end and the smaller homes begin, where the artisans used to live and the actual work got done.

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Photo: Gordana Grlič

Of course it’s changing as the city becomes more famous, and well-visited, but it’s still got a character all its own, especially the half that starts around Dragon Bridge and heads out of town. It’s a diverse, graffiti-covered part of the street that has perhaps the greatest mix of ethnicities in Ljubljana, and thus the country, along with the greatest variety of food on offer, from budget prices on up. A place you want to go if you’re hungry, or thirsty, or to see some of street level life of the city, and one with food options to midnight and beyond.

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Photo: Gordana Grlič

Right now the road being torn up and replaced, and in some places a little hard to navigate. But the people who live and work there, including myself, are part of a real community of friends and neighbours, and business keeps going despite the dust and rubble. I thus present a walk along the street as of the end of June 2019 with an eye to the food you can get there, in the hope of encouraging you to make a visit and enjoy a meal or two.

Asian, Indian and Turkish food

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Photo: Svilna pot, Facebook

We’ll start our journey at 20 Trubarjeva cesta with Svilna Pot (Silk Road), a small Asian food centre where you can pick up spices, pastes, sauces, ramen, frozen food and so on, with a focus on the foods of India, China, SE Asia, Japan and Korea. It’s run by the people behind Osha – the Thai / Vietnamese place further up the street. A little further up there’s the very lively Centralna Postaja (Central Station) , which offers drinks, burgers and DJ sets.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

Keep walking and you’ll hit Namaste Express, an Indian restaurant, while next door is Šeherezada, a fresh, fast Turkish restaurant with kebabs, falafel, salads, and more, and a best option for food well after midnight on the street. On the opposite side of the street, on the corner, there’s another late night option, the Pekarna Zmajski most (Dragon Bridge Bakery) is open even on days when nothing else is.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Balkan, Arabic, Thai, Vietnamese and Slovenian food

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Photo: Gordana Grlič

Cross the street and the livelier, funkier end of the Trubarjeva begins, with a narrower street, smaller buildings, and more graffiti. The first food place here is Riviera, and also the first so far with a Balkan menu of soups, steaks, burek, ćevapčići and the like, and open until 01:00. Big soccer games are shown outside or inside, depending on the weather>

A little further up there’s a closely packed run of places that you’ll want to stop and consider in turn.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

There’s Abi Falafal, a clean, well-lit place that offers an extensive menu offering Arabian food and open until 01:00 from Thursday to Saturday. Just up from this is Osha, a Vietnamese / Thai place with soups, noodles, rice dishes and so on. Next to this is Čompa, a place that looks like nothing special from the outside but is fully booked almost every evening due to its lively atmosphere and short but well done menu of Slovenian meats and wines. It’s one of the pricier places on the street, so check those first if on a budget, and book ahead if you want make sure of a table.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

It’s not a restaurant or bar, but just opposite these places is Hiša Začimb (House of Spices), a fantastic little store that has all the herbs and spices you want and many you’ve never heard of. Well worth checking out, and the only place in town to get many of these things.

Lebanese, burgers, pizza and beer

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Photo: JL Flanner

Keep walking and on your left is Libanonske meze in drugi užitki (Lebanese meze and other delights). In the warmer months you can eat outside, but if you want some shade, or it’s cold, head inside, down a few stairs, and be transported to another place. Read our interview with the owner here.

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Photo: JL Flanner

On your right is then Kavarna Mačkon (Café Tomcat), a place you might hear before you see. It has a short café menu, more drinks and snacks than food, and if you like guitar-based music then this is a spot you’ll want to sit down and enjoy, with the outside tables great for watching the life of the street. Next to this is Pinsa Rustika, a pizza place that sells by the slice, to go or eat in, along with beer and wine. The slices are sold by weight and cut to order.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Opposite this, and tucked just off the street, is Burger Time and its craft beer tap room, with burgers, hotdogs and French fries in the formers, and a selection of craft beers in the latter. You might recognize the name from Izola. If you want vegan food then keep walking up through here and you’ll come across Veganika (which is actually at Komenskega ulica 30).

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Photo: JL Flanner

If you want more craft beer to go, and to choose from one of the best selections in the country, then next to Pinsa Rustika you’ll want to visit the wonderful ŽE V REDU, Primož (Are you OK, Primož?). Run by the people by the Lajbah bar on the other side of town, the right side of the store has a selection of Slovenian beer, while the left side focuses on imports. Unless you’re the owner I guarantee they have things you’ve never heard of, never mind tasted.

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Photo: JL Flanner

The food and drink action then pauses for 15 metres or so, until you come across Trubar on your left. This is a café bar that has all the usual drinks, along with ice creams in the summer and very good croissants and donuts. I’ve spent more time here than any place in Slovenia I don’t keep a toothbrush in.

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Photo: JL Flanner

Italian, Chinese, African and Indian food

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Photo: JL Flanner

On the other side of the road, on a lane that takes you to the river, there’s Capriccio, a pizzeria and Italian restaurant that’s run by Italians. Pizzas are big, thin crust, and come fast – I eat here far too often. Opposite this is the Zhong Hua (China, in Chinese) Chinese restaurant, which is a pretty authentic place that tends toward the spicier dishes and sees a lot of Chinese tourists. If you can read Chinese – simplified or traditional – then ask for the Chinese menu, as the English or Slovenian names aren’t always clear. I go for the 魚香肉絲.

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Photo: JL Flanner

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Photo: JL Flanner

If you return to Trubarjeva then there’s just two more places before the street quietens down, in culinary terms. First up is the most diverse of the lot, and that’s Skuhna. This project works at integrating recent immigrants by training them for restaurant work, and makes use of their skills by offering a rotating menu of specialities from around the world, with each day focusing on a different country, most often from Africa or Asia. It’s a really interesting project that produces very good food, and you can learn more about it here. After this there’s Tandoori, a small Indian restaurant that has a few – very few – seats inside, although it’s easy to get something to go.

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Photo: JL Flanner

And that, as of the start of summer 2019, is what the food scene is like on my favourite street in Ljubljana, and where I currently reside, Trubarjeva cesta. Check it out next time you’re in town.

Note: This story was produced in collaboration with Trubarjeva na dljani (Trubarjeva at your fingertips), a community-led project to promote the street. You can follow it here

28 Jun 2019, 17:01 PM

STA, 28 June 2019 - Ljubljana ranks among the top 20 friendliest cities for cyclists in the Copenhagenize Index once again this year. After placing 13th in 2015 and 8th in 2017, this year it is in place 14 of the index, which is compiled every other year.

Praising Ljubljana for its efforts to be as bicycle-friendly as possible, the index also sees several issues, such as lack of secure bicycle parking options near transit and schools, and numerous interruptions of the cycling network outside the city centre.

The index also says that design standards are not up to par in terms of protection and width, and that there are maintenance problems throughout winter.

But despite the fact that Ljubljana "slid down a number of spots on the index this year, it still most certainly deserves its space among the top 20 in 2019 for its continued push for innovation and bicycle-friendly development."

It says that "the last two years featured a number of new developments to cycling in the city, with the highest ever ridership numbers recorded for the local bike share system Bicikelj, and a number of one-way streets made accessible to cyclists travelling in two directions".

Additionally, new intersection designs and traffic lights for cyclists have been consistently rolled-out since 2018, as well as car-free and reduced speed zones were expanded, the Copenhagenize Index website says.

Related: How to rent a bike in Ljubljana

26 Jun 2019, 11:42 AM

STA, 26 June 2019 - Hiša Franko in the town of Kobarid, led by Slovenia's star chef Ana Roš, was declared the 38th best restaurant in the world by the British trade magazine Restaurant in Singapore on Tuesday. The list was topped by French restaurant Mirazur led by Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco.

This is the second time that Hiša Franko, standing above the picturesque Soča river, is on the list of the world's top 50 restaurants.

It debuted last year, ranking 48th, while Roš was declared the best woman chef by the Restaurant magazine in 2017.

Overall, the top 50 list included just five restaurants helmed by female chefs, the same as last year.

Mirazur is followed on the list by Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Asador Etxebarri in Atxondo, Spain.

Related: Winners of The Slovenia Restaurant Awards 2019 Announced

 

20 Jun 2019, 12:04 PM

Ex-Yu Aviation, the regional air transport site, has a shocking report on the current state of Adria Airways that begins as follows:

The Slovenian Minister for Infrastructure, Alenka Bratušek, has said the government has developed contingency plans in case Adria Airways ceases operations. The comments came following a horror week for the national carrier during which it has been in the media spotlight for cancelled, delayed and merged flights, as well as financial mismanagement by its owners, lack of staff, unpaid compensation claims, the alleged involvement of its former managers in the collapse of Switzerland's Darwin Airline, and suspicions its yet-to-be-published financial report for 2018 does not reflect the company's actual financial state. Commenting on the situation, Ms Bratušek said the government has no means to aid Adria until 2021, as the company was a recipient of state funds in 2011. Under European Union regulation, the government is barred from providing further financial assistance to the airline until a ten-year deadline has passed.

The full story can be read here.

19 Jun 2019, 14:46 PM

Maribor’s Festival Lent is one of the largest and oldest open-air festivals in Europe, and it returns to Slovenia’s second city for the 26th time this week bringing, music, art, culture, creativity, food and laughter to the medieval Lent district, the historic squares and streets of the Old Town, the city park and even on the floating main stage on the River Drava.

Note - all videos are from 2018

For ten days, from 20 to 29 June, visitors can enjoy a wealth of entertainment that resists easy summary, with live music from all genres, theatrical performances for young and old, DJ sets, a chess festival, sporting events, art exhibitions and workshops, a culinary programme, films, dance and much, much more, drawing performers and audiences from all over the world.

The full schedule can be seen here and is worth clicking around, as along with further details of each of the hundreds of participants you’ll find videos showing what to expect. You can also follow the programme on Facebook, while the organisers’ have selected their own highlights here if you’d like some more guidance.

In short, Festival Lent is one of the true highlights of the summer – and the year – in the Slovenian cultural calendar, with something for everyone on every day, making the 20 to 29 June (2019) the ideal time to visit Maribor.

17 Jun 2019, 12:30 PM

June 17, 2019

Heavy traffic has become a problem at one of the main tourist destinations in Slovenia, Bled, which is why last year public transport was introduced into the area, connecting the village of Bled with Vintgar and Pokljuka.

Related: How to Spend Four to 48 hours in Bled

Due to last year’s great success, an additional line has been introduced. Thus, between June 15 and September 15 (2019), green and blue lines will be in service for locals and tourists alike. A ticket costs one euro, and the ride is free for guests staying at Bled for at least three days and having a Julian Alps card for Bled.

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For details on the timetable and routes, please click here or here.

15 Jun 2019, 13:02 PM

STA, 14 June 2019 - Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said on Friday she was working on the idea to connect Maribor and Ljubljana with express trains, a demand presented by a civil initiative earlier this week. Bratušek said she would push for connecting several European cities with fast trains to be one of Slovenia's priorities during the EU presidency.

"I believe Slovenia should be the initiator of express trains between Vienna, Ljubljana and Venice, and the first fast connection we need to introduce would be between Ljubljana and Maribor, two biggest Slovenian cities," the minister said.

The Infrastructure Ministry said it was working on a transport policy that is in line with the demands of the group of academics commuting from Maribor to Ljubljana on a daily basis who started the campaign for better transport connection between the two cities on Monday.

The initiative would like to cut the commuting time between the two cities to 50 minutes, while the train ride currently takes from two to three hours.

The head of the initiative, Mateja Ratej, noted that the Maribor-Ljubljana motorway, being a part of the transport corridor between eastern and western Europe, was heavily burdened, especially during holidays and in the summer.

"Traffic accidents are becoming increasingly frequent, causing tailbacks of several kilometres, which extend the 133-kilometre journey to several hours," she said.

The ministry said today it had already introduced a single integrated pass for public transport and additional fast routes. "We are modernising the existing and building new railway connections to have more cargo transported on rail and make the connections between cities faster, more cost-efficient, and more environment- and user-friendly."

According to the ministry, a task force will be set up to look into the possibilities for express trains between Ljubljana and Maribor and other cities, and estimate the costs of such a project.

The 50 Minutes Between Maribor and Ljubljana initiative was backed by the Maribor municipality and the List of Cyclists and Pedestrians.

"The situation has been causing discontent for a while and things get much worse in the summer months," Ratej said, calling for an action plan before the end of the year.

The initiative is now collecting signatures for its petition.

All our stories on railways in Slovenia are here

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